Steve Tucci’s time with Dan Toler in The Toler Tucci Band was a time of musical growth that would carry into future projects.
More than three years after Toler passed following a long battle with ALS, Tucci is honoring Toler’s philosophy of opening CDs with uptempo tracks by sharing “Olivia,” the title and opening track from a new album, due July 14 via Hideaway Music.
The cut features guitarist Larry McCray, who Tucci credits with helping the band get past the hurdle of losing Toler.
“Dan always tried to create rather than copy with his contribution to a song,” Tucci told CL. “Larry and Dan both added unique textures to Tucci's music only strengthening our overall sound. As important as his playing, Larry is also family and understands that strong relationships amongst the players only strengthens the band's output.”
Read a short Q&A with Steve Tucci, and listen to the song, below. Catch Tucci at a free release show at Bert's Black Widow Harley Davidson (2224 El Jobean Road, in Port Charlotte) at Noon on July 16.
Steve, you’ve said that Larry was instrumental in making sure you got this CD done. What was it about his singing and guitar playing that allowed you to get past the hurdle of losing Dan?
When we told Larry we were moved by his vocals and that he was able to relay the emotion of a specific song he responded in a surprised manner. He stated he never thought of himself as a great singer. He replied, "I simply tell the story the song represents and what you hear is what results." I believe Larry approaches the guitar in much the same manner. His guitar is an extension of him and captures the feeling, meaning and reality of the composition. These abilities allow Larry, much like Dan, to be an innovator. Dan always tried to create rather than copy with his contribution to a song. Larry and Dan both added unique textures to Tucci's music only strengthening our overall sound. As important as his playing, Larry is also family and understands that strong relationships amongst the players only strengthens the band's output.
Talk about the song “High Roller,” why open the album with that?
Dan's philosophy was to always open a CD with an up tempo vocal number. We adhered to this policy by beginning Olivia with "High Roller." We are a rock blues band and certainly "High Roller" is consistent with this genre. It features Larry's vocal and our guitar blend. It's a fun, enjoyable and not too deep song which invites the listener to come along for the ride with us.
You’ve also got the last recording of Dan Toler on the album. Can you detail that for listeners who’ll be picking up the album?
"Play By The Rules" was one of the last, if not the last, recording Dan Toler recorded. It is an emotional slow tempo classic blues sounding song. By this recording, Dan was in poor health and suffering great pain. We would hold him up from his wheelchair to try and give him some relief on a frequent basis. You can certainly feel his pain in his playing. Despite Dan's technical losses brought on by ALS, he was able to totally capture the feeling through his guitar. Upon finishing the recording, final mixes were done at Dan's home because of his inability to travel. He had tears in his eyes and stated his final playing was the best he ever did. This was because of the pain and effort which went into each song. Dan knew he had functional deficits but, compensated with the emotion in his playing. He was indeed proud of his accomplishment. So were we.